Tornado Damage to Oklahoma Campgrounds Assessed
A tornado that swept through central Oklahoma last week caused nearly $13 million in damage to public and private property on Lake Thunderbird, according to preliminary estimates released by officials with the state Tourism Department.
Members of the Tourism Commission on Wednesday (May 19) approved an emergency declaration for the park that sustained major tornado damage, according to The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City.
The declaration allows the department to issue contracts for cleanup, debris removal and reconstruction of structures damaged in the storm.
The state will see a loss of approximately $1.9 million in damage to structures and lost revenue from the May 10 tornado, said Kris Marek, director of state parks.
The twister damaged rest rooms at two campgrounds, camping areas and the Little River Marina on the north side of Lake Thunderbird.
Storm damage also was reported at Lake Tenkiller, Lake Murray, Great Salt Plains, Boiling Springs and Sequoyah Bay state parks.
The marina at Lake Thunderbird had 250 boat slips and many of the boats remain scattered across the lake.
Officials closed the lake for cleanup.
So far, 13 boats have been removed from the waters and workers continue to remove debris.
Originally officials worried that debris, fuel and boat engine parts could damage the water quality at Lake Thunderbird, but ongoing tests show the water quality meets standards, Marek said.
The lake remains closed, but is expected to open up again on May 28 for the Memorial Day weekend.
Campgrounds, stables and a restaurant remain open at the lake.
"Right now we’re just concerned that the debris in the lake could be hazardous to boaters,” Marek said. "We’re working to clean that up right now.”
Officials estimate it could cost about $1.5 million to clean up tree damage and repair bath houses and campgrounds, Marek said.